10 Unforgettable Things To Do In China

7 June 2023
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Why You Should Go To China

China is a vast, diverse country with many things to do and see, from ancient China historical sites to modern city attractions. As one of the world’s oldest civilizations, it offers one of the best experiences of history and culture in the world.

China is getting more accessible and offers one of the best experiences for tourists looking for diversity and adventure. You’ll see the real China with its natural beauty and charm of different provinces and warmness shown by locals.

Many of the top things to do in China, like Great Wall of China or Terracotta Army, will be on many bucket lists. Other popular tourist attractions in China also include the stunning Forbidden City and magical Guilin Karst mountain landscape.

Visiting China will give you a richer idea of the variety of local traditions and cuisines you don’t get from social or network media.  

So don’t miss this opportunity to visit one of the world’s most fascinating countries, as your experience in China will leave you with unforgettable memories. I have been lucky enough to visit all of the following top destinations and can highly recommend each and every one. 

Are you excited to travel to China but worried about safety? Read my blog, Is China Safe To Travel To And Tourist Friendly, for advice on why China is a safe country to visit.

1. Walk The Great Wall of China in Beijing

10 Unforgettable Things To Do In China
Great Wall of China at Jinshanling, Beijing, China

The Great Wall of China is the most famous attraction in China for tourists and Chinese locals. It spans 16 provinces, including Beijing providing breathtaking landscape views. 

Popular sections of the Great Wall near Beijing are Jinshanling or Mutianyu. They are perfect for Great Wall hiking if you are visiting Beijing. They are easy routes for walking but get there as early as you can in the morning to escape crowds. You will never forget the thrill of having the entire wall to yourself, surrounded by gorgeous scenery.

Starting Early also gives time to visit the Temple of Heaven, a lovely complex of religious buildings and other attractions like the beautiful Summer Palace. 

For Google Map location click here

2. Marvel At The Forbidden City In Beijing

10 Unforgettable Things To Do In China
Male Bronze Guardian Lion in front of the Gate of Supreme Harmony in Forbidden City, Beijing, China

This ancient palace complex is the largest in the world and was home to Ming and Qing dynasties emperors for about 500 years. Built in early 15th century it has many grand palaces, halls, courtyards, and gardens to explore and is a must-visit in Beijing.

Places you should make sure you visit include the:
•    Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe Hall), which is the most important and grand building.
•    Palace of Heavenly Purity and the Palace of Earthly Tranquillity, 2 of the larger halls in the inner courtyard.
•    Imperial Garden

With gorgeous architecture, ornate carvings, and fascinating artwork, The Forbidden City is truly one of the best things to see in all of China. This is why you should visit as early as possible in the morning for smaller crowds. 

For Google Map location click here

3. Enjoy The Bund Shanghai Skyline

10 Unforgettable Things To Do In China
The wonderful Shanghai skyline with Shanghai Tower and Jin Mao Tower, from The Bund, Shanghai, China

You cannot visit Shanghai and not see the stunning night-time illuminated Shanghai skyline from the famous Bund.

This long promenade gives an exceptional panorama of towering skyscrapers over the Huangpu River, including the Shanghai Tower and Oriental Pearl TV Tower. Bring your camera or phone and snap away as you stroll along the promenade. 

The best time to visit is in the evening to see the wonderful, neon-lit landscape, but it does get very packed with people.

You can also go on a riverboat and cruise up and down the Huangpu River for a different vibe and view. You won’t regret having the Bund as part of your itinerary of things to see in China.

For Google Map location click here

4. Be Blown Away By The Terracotta Warriors in Xian

10 Unforgettable Things To Do In China
Terracotta soldier and horse sculptures at The Terracotta Army Museum, Xian, China

Xian, a famous attraction in China, is an ancient and historical city know for one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in history, The Terracotta Army. It was accidentally discovered in 1974 by local farmers digging a well near Mount Li. 

It is a huge place with over 8,000 life-size clay sculptures of soldiers, horses, and chariots of the first emperor of China Qin Shi Huang. The life-like Terracotta Warriors and other sculptures were buried with him to protect him in his afterlife.

Nothing will prepare you for the amazing experience of seeing the scale of the army and details in each sculpture. 

Visiting Xian (Xi’an) Beijing and Shanghai means you can also tick off China’s Golden Triangle must-visit places off your China itinerary.

For Google Map location click here

5. Stroll Around Hangzhou’s Historic West Lake

10 Unforgettable Things To Do In China
Family in row boat in West Lake, Hangzhou, China

West Lake in Hangzhou, one of the most captivating cities in China, is a huge picturesque freshwater lake. Located in Zhejiang Province, it is a great day trip from Shanghai as it takes less than 1hr by high-speed train.

It is a wonderful, serene area with beautiful landscapes, bridges, temples, pagodas and gardens. Some of the best places to visit include the Su Causeway, Three Pools Mirroring the Moon, and Leifeng Pagoda.

It is a popular tourist destination for foreign and local tourists, and therefore much busier at the weekends. Try and stay as long into the evening as you can to enjoy the illuminated landscape.

For Google Map location click here

6. Visit The Giant Pandas at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

10 Unforgettable Things To Do In China
Panda lying down looking towards camera, Bifengxia Panda Base, China

If you love animals, you must visit the giant pandas at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding (Bifengxia Giant Panda base). Here you can see the pandas and other rare animals being bred and protected in this non-profit complex. 

It’s a great educational facility where you can see newborns, young and adult pandas and learn about their habits and lives. Watching them living in the bamboo forest and enclosures, eating bamboo, and playing with each other is great fun.   

You can also see the smaller, more agile red pandas climbing trees and exploring their natural habitat. 

Spending time with the cute pandas will leave you with lovely warm memories of these incredible animals and your trip to China.

For Google Map location click here

7. Relax In The Classical Gardens of Suzhou

10 Unforgettable Things To Do In China
A resting pavilion in the Humble Administrator's Garden, Suzhou, China

The lovely Classical Gardens of Suzhou are a must for any tourist planning a trip to China. It is located in one of the most beautiful Chinese cities, about 30mins high-speed train ride from Shanghai. 

A UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties, it is one of the best things China has to offer. It has a mix of interesting architecture, waterways, well-maintained gardens, pavilions, bridges, and ponds, and is perfect for strolling around. 

Visiting the Gardens of Suzhou is a delightful day trip to do from Shanghai, so don’t miss out!

For Google Map location click here

8. Watch The Yangshuo Impression Liu Sanjie Water Show

10 Unforgettable Things To Do In China
Scene from the Yangshuo Impression Liu Sanjie night water show, Guilin, China

Guilin’s truly spectacular karts mountains landscape already makes it one of the best places to visit in China. Whilst you are there, you must see the fantastic Yangshuo Impression Liu Sanjie Water Show.

The show is based on the story of the legend of Liu Sanjie, a Zhuang girl with a magical voice. It is a visually stunning experience that uses the Li River as a stage with the surrounding karst mountains as a backdrop. 

The combination of music, lighting, songs and dances makes this a wonderfully entertaining experience you must not miss.

For Google Map location click here

9. Go On A Hike At Tiger Leaping Gorge In Yunnan

10 Unforgettable Things To Do In China
The rushing waters of the Yangtze River at Tiger Leaping Gorge In Yunnan, China

The stunning Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the best things to see in Yunnan province in southwest China. It’s one of the world’s deepest and most breathtaking gorges, with majestic rising cliffs alongside the rushing Yangtze River.

Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the most beautiful places in China for hiking. It has many trails offering great views of waterfalls, mountain peaks and lush greenery.

For non-hikers, fear not, as many vantage places can be driven to as part of a group or personal tour.

For Google Map location click here

10. See The Majestic Wuyi Mountains

10 Unforgettable Things To Do In China
Rocky mountain landscape and Nine Bend River in Wuyishan, China

The stunning Wuyi Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is located in Wuyishan. Set within the Wuyi Mountains Scenic Area, a gorgeous part of China, it is a wonderful place to spend a few days.

The scenic area around Mount Wuyi is full of stunning waterfalls, majestic mountains, winding river bends, and lush greenery. It is also a main producing area for great-tasting Wuyi Mountain tea, including famous oolong teas like Da Hong Pao.

Like Guilin, one of the most enjoyable attractions in Wuyi Mountains is taking a leisurely bamboo raft ride. So join other tourists and take the Nine-Bend cruise, which takes you around the nine river bends surrounded by spectacular landscapes.

For Google Map location click here


As you can see, there are many wonderful things to do in China, including ancient towns, stunning landscapes, and beautiful historic and modern buildings.

With lots of delicious food choices and a warm welcome from the people of China, China is worth a visit at least once.

Map Of Things To Do In China

I have created a custom Google map showing all of the above locations to help you visualise and plan your trip to China. Have a get time in China, and drop me a comment to let me know what your favourite things were.


Q: Is China dangerous to visit?

A: No, China is safe to visit, as a lot of work is done by the government to keep the order for locals and tourists. However, like most countries, you need to be safety conscious. Violent crime in China against foreigners is relatively low, but some petty crimes and scams do occur. So do follow normal safety processes like you would wherever you travel. You can read my post on Is China Safe To Travel To And Tourist Friendly? for more information.

Q: What is the best time to visit China?

A: The best time to visit depends really on what you are interested in. March to May or September to November are ideal for milder weather and fewer crowds. If you like winter activity, visiting Harbin the world’s largest ice and snow festival is a must between December to early March. There are also many festivals like Chines New Year in January or February, or the Dragon Boat festival in June.

Q: Is China expensive as a tourist destination?

A: Flying to China is likely to be expensive for people, but costs inside the country are generally lower than in most Western countries. This however depends on your taste and what you want to do as there are very expensive hotels and restaurants and conversely many cheaper alternatives. Travel by taxi and metro is very cheap, and high-speed train tickets range from cheap to expensive for first class.

Q: What is the Three Gorges?

A: The Three Gorges in Central China is a beautiful area beside the Yangtze River with towering cliffs, bending river, and rich plant life. It’s one of the best things to see in China as tourists can hike on many trails along the river or take a river cruise. Its name comes from the river flowing through three narrow gorges, Qutang, Wu and Xiling. The world’s largest power station, the Three Gorges Dam which spans the river can be seen at the end of Xiling Gorge.

Q: What are the Mogao Caves?

A: The Mogao Caves, one of China’s best known UNESCO World Heritage sites, are several old Buddhist temples carved into cliffs near Dunhuang, China. They are famous for the variety of centuries-old Buddhist sculptures, calligraphy and wall paintings found in the caves. 

Q: What is the Yangtze River Cruise?

A: The Yangtze River Cruise is a lovely way to see the stunning natural scenery that runs beside the Yangtze River. The full route between Chongqing and Shanghai takes about 11 days and provides onboard entertainment and delicious local food. There are however different multi-day length cruises starting from different sections including across the Three Gorges area. 

Q: What is the Silk Road?

A: The Silk Road was a network of trading routes that ran for 1,500 years between east Asia, Europe and Middle East until the mid-15th century. It was used to exchange goods, ideas and culture between continents, with silk being one of the most valuable traded goods. Famous travelers to have explored the Silk Road included Zhang Qian and Marco Polo.

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10 Unforgettable Things To Do In China

Hello, I’m Ivan. Welcome to my website. I am a travel photographer based in London, United Kingdom, with a love of traveling the world to meet and photograph new people and places. I am lucky to have visited so many beautiful places and look forward to sharing some of my photographs and travel photo tips with you.

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